Quantcast

PicoBrew Pico users

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
So I ordered the Pico during the kickstarter campaign and received it a few weeks ago. Last week I brewed my first batch, Annie's London Ale, let me just say I am extremely happy and excited with the Pico! It was worth the wait! It is extremely well thought out and designed, a pleasure to use. Hopefully Pico owners will use this thread to share their experiences, learnings, and success! Please, no tower of power brewers bashing our little Pico! The Pico is intended for a very certain type of brewer, and we know what we have and why we chose it!

Years ago I brewed 2.5 gallon batches with an e-BIAB system I built. Life (kids) got in the way and I haven't brewed in a few years. I toyed with the idea of a Zymatic over the years, but when I saw the Pico I knew it was perfect for me at the moment. You can literally brew and cook dinner at the same time, yet the process is so that it is still fun and engaging. My personal pet peeves of weighing, grinding, starters, and cleanup are gone, the reasons life kept me from brewing, not to mention the room full of equipment that is now replaced by bikes and dolls.

The Pico has a very cool user interface that walks you through the different steps of the cleaning and brewing process. You always know the status of the brew and how much time is left. There is also a slick online interface that charts your brew progress and shows you the mashing boiling etc steps. When brewing is complete, you are left with a full keg which you seal off and let cool down. I put mine in my kegerator for exactly 6 hours which got me to 75 degrees target temp. Each PicoPak comes with a thermometer sticker so you always know the temp of your wort. A label sticker of your recipe is also included, both very nice touches.

After 6 hours of cooling I pitched the included packet of yeast right into the keg, shook it up, and sealed it off with the included fast fermentation adapter. The thermometer shows 75-84 as the fast fermentation zone. I have the keg sitting on top of my kegerator, my house keeps it between 73-75 night and day. For fast fermentation it should be ready to rack to serving keg by 5 days, but since I am on the low end of that range I am giving it 10 days. This weekend I will place it in my kegerator for a couple days to cold crash, then rack to another brew keg to force carbonate and serve from kegerator.

I also purchased the kegsmarts system during the kickstarter, which I will setup soon and detail here. In the future kegsmarts will automate my fermentation, but I am still awaiting shipment of the keg warmer which keeps the keg at your desired temp during fermentation. Attached are a few pics from my first brew, hopefully fellow Pico owners chime in with their experience! I know a lot of people are still waiting for their pico, if you have any questions ask!

IMG_5400.jpg


IMG_5403.jpg


IMG_4153.jpg


IMG_5406.jpg


IMG_5407.jpg
 

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
I have brewed the Buffalo Sweat and it is being carbonated as we speak. I hope to drink it on Monday night.

I agree with you on the nice features that were the reason this was right for me. I had done 1-gallon batches only and didn't think the Zymatic or Grainfather were the right choice for me based on volume. I especially like the BrewMarketplace where I can try actual beers from breweries around the world!

Speaking of which, I just brewed a Belgian Golden in my Pico. I have a heat pad and an inkbird Itc-308 controlling the temp of the fermenting keg at fast fermentation temps right now! I have the temp probe on the outside, but wrapped the whole thing up in the keg cozy so it's pretty close.
 

Zoebendad

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Thanks for starting the thread. When did you get your London Ale? I only have the Buffalo Sweat that came with my Pico (which came out great, by the way). Still waiting for all of my other packs.
 

hopsaurus

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Buffalo Sweat for me fermented fine in 6 days at mid-70s. Carbonated for 48 hrs and turned out great. Had to drink it all in one sitting since I've not figured out how to keep it carbonated. Glad this wasn't an Imperial Stout;)

Tried to keep a low CO2 PSI while dispensing but cartidge just lasted for about 5 pints. Probably should freeflow for the first few and then re-attach CO2 to keep carbonated for future pours?
 

VagueSkunk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
204
Reaction score
36
Brewed the Buffalo Sweat on the 20th, I'll be carbonating it tonite. Started with this recipe because I dont like stouts all that much so if it comes out gross I wont miss it too much if I end up having to dump it ;)
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Thanks for starting the thread. When did you get your London Ale? I only have the Buffalo Sweat that came with my Pico (which came out great, by the way). Still waiting for all of my other packs.
Actually, there's a story about how I ended up with London ale. :(

I received my Pico with only the buffalo sweat, which I promptly placed in my beer fridge on the outdoor patio to brew over the weekend. Well couple days later my gas grill decided to burn down my outdoor patio along with said fridge and Pico pak! I wrote to picobrew explaining my sad story and asked if they could ship me a Pico pak quickly if I purchased from marketplace. I needed a stress relieving brew day bad! Well they overnighted me the London ale for free, which was one of my selections for the thirsty early bird, awesome service. I am still due 7 more kickstarter paks, I am not sure if anyone is receiving these yet? I would prefer to receive them a couple at a time every few weeks ideally, not sure what their plan is though. I have since ordered and received buffalo sweat and the Harlem wit from the brew marketplace. Plan on brewing sweat tomorrow!
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Buffalo Sweat for me fermented fine in 6 days at mid-70s. Carbonated for 48 hrs and turned out great. Had to drink it all in one sitting since I've not figured out how to keep it carbonated. Glad this wasn't an Imperial Stout;)

Tried to keep a low CO2 PSI while dispensing but cartidge just lasted for about 5 pints. Probably should freeflow for the first few and then re-attach CO2 to keep carbonated for future pours?
It sounds like you guys using the serving kegs should probably purchase a package of spare co2 cartridges? Should be able to find them cheap in the sporting goods section at Walmart etc, used for air pistols. There are also food grade cartridges which cost more and harder to find. I've read people use the sporting goods one fine in jockey boxes and the like. Once the initial one runs out, pop in another to serve and keep the brew carbonated should work.
 

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
I got mine with the Buffalo Sweat and brewed it immediately. I then ordered two off the BrewMarketplace which came quickly. I still have three from the Kickstarter pledge that haven't arrived, but I got notice that one has shipped.
 

Zoebendad

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Actually, there's a story about how I ended up with London ale. :(

I received my Pico with only the buffalo sweat, which I promptly placed in my beer fridge on the outdoor patio to brew over the weekend. Well couple days later my gas grill decided to burn down my outdoor patio along with said fridge and Pico pak! I wrote to picobrew explaining my sad story and asked if they could ship me a Pico pak quickly if I purchased from marketplace. I needed a stress relieving brew day bad! Well they overnighted me the London ale for free, which was one of my selections for the thirsty early bird, awesome service. I am still due 7 more kickstarter paks, I am not sure if anyone is receiving these yet? I would prefer to receive them a couple at a time every few weeks ideally, not sure what their plan is though. I have since ordered and received buffalo sweat and the Harlem wit from the brew marketplace. Plan on brewing sweat tomorrow!


Sorry to hear about your patio!! Hope the Pale Ale helped. I am waiting for 6 more packs from the kickstarter. My order has said "shipping" for the past 4-5 days. Hopefully that means soon.

I bought a party-star tap for my serving keg and extra 16g co2 canisters off of Amazon. It has worked so far to keep the Buffalo Sweat fresh and carbonated for over a week so far. I wasn't ready to commit to a kegerator yet.

On a different topic, this is my first foray into brewing and I have concerns about adequately cleaning/sanitizing my kegs/equipment. Any helpful videos, tutorials that anyone can point to? Do you guys use star-san, hydrogen peroxide, anything else?
 

VipperOfVipp

Active Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2016
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Location
Los Angeles
What is the fast ferment adapter? I know they were working on a simple spuding valve for low pressure fermentation, so is this it? I am curious if you can ferment lagers at a higher temp with it.

Anyway thanks for sharing the information!
 

hopsaurus

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
Any good alternatives to the serving keg? This CO2 cartridge thing is going to get old fast.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Sorry to hear about your patio!! Hope the Pale Ale helped. I am waiting for 6 more packs from the kickstarter. My order has said "shipping" for the past 4-5 days. Hopefully that means soon.

I bought a party-star tap for my serving keg and extra 16g co2 canisters off of Amazon. It has worked so far to keep the Buffalo Sweat fresh and carbonated for over a week so far. I wasn't ready to commit to a kegerator yet.

On a different topic, this is my first foray into brewing and I have concerns about adequately cleaning/sanitizing my kegs/equipment. Any helpful videos, tutorials that anyone can point to? Do you guys use star-san, hydrogen peroxide, anything else?
When I used to brew PBW and star San were recommended for cleaning/sanitizing, so that's what I picked up. They worked well in the past for me. Soak stuff in hot PBW to clean, spray stuff with starsan to sanitize, no rinse required. Don't put PBW in the pico though!

Here is a picobrew video on cleaning a keg, shows how to disassemble.
https://youtu.be/ChNfgLaUFeA

What is the fast ferment adapter? I know they were working on a simple spuding valve for low pressure fermentation, so is this it? I am curious if you can ferment lagers at a higher temp with it.

Anyway thanks for sharing the information!
Yes it is a valve that keeps pressure in the keg and allows fermentation with traditional yeasts at temps above their normally recommended temperature. I believe lagers are also able to be fast fermented,but I'm not sure of the specific yeasts and temps they have approved.

Any good alternatives to the serving keg? This CO2 cartridge thing is going to get old fast.
I'm curious why? The alternatives are a traditional kegerator with co2 tank and taps, bottling, or a party star system discussed earlier. The kegerator is awesome, but requires more brewing kegs and expense. If you don't like swapping a co2 cartridge you will hate bottling! And I believe the party star system still requires the co2 cartridges, it is a better serving tap system for the 5l mini kegs though. In the past I have seen countertop mini keg coolers/taps. I don't know much about them, will try to find them again.
 

VagueSkunk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
204
Reaction score
36
Moved to serving keg and started the force carbonation process. Collected the first pint or so of runoff from the fermenter in a glass and sampled it. Smelled like stout and tasted pretty much like a stout, so that's good. Noticed a very slight sour taste but I'm going to blame myself for that one and not the pico. I've brewed using traditional methods in the past but it's been about 10-12 years since I've done it and in that time I forgot something...PBW is NOT a sanitizer!
So, I fermented for 10 days in a clean but unsanitized keg. Oh well, lesson learned :(
I'll be brewing up an IPA tonite, I'm guessing that it will come out better...now that I'm remembering to use Star-san
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
You were fermenting in the same keg you brewed in right? I don't think you need to sanitize the brew/ferment keg, the high temp brewing process takes care of that. At least that's how I look at it, hope my London ale comes out ok....

Now when I rack that to another keg tonight for carb/serve I will starsan everything that touches beer.
 

jddevinn

Got 99 Problems but beer ain't one
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
1,403
Reaction score
537
Location
Concord
Looks like regular ball lock keg disconnects to me? If so you could just get a larger CO2 tank.
 

VagueSkunk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
204
Reaction score
36
Yep, the keg disconnects are standard ball lock, nothing special about them.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
The serving kegs are the mini 5L kegs, which need the co2 cartridges to use with the included regulator. The brew kegs are standard ball lock kegs which can double as serving kegs with traditional ball lock gas and tap lines, which is what I'm doing.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Just got notification of two of my early bird paks shipping. :mug:
 

Kassad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
65
Reaction score
5
For someone who has received the Picobrew Pico and still has all the boxes (I don't know how many boxes make up a Picobrew shipment), can someone provide me the height, width, depth dimensions so I can determine if I can have one shipped to me?
Thanks in advance
 

CKelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Messages
100
Reaction score
98
Glad I came across this thread as I just finished putting together a little movie about my first use of the pico. Hope it is helpful or enjoyable or something for everyone. It's also 22 minutes so I won't be offended if you don't watch.

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fk1FRuOES8[/ame]
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Great video thanks for posting! Love the unboxing.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Racked my initial brew tonight and brewed the next batch, Renaissance Wit. Smelled wonderful, and the Pico was a blast to use again. Thought I would share this pic, tore into the Pico pak, it was cool to see the little baggies of hops, orange peel, coriander, and whatever the other two spices are.

IMG_4871.jpg


IMG_4872.jpg
 

CKelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Messages
100
Reaction score
98
I opened up the picopaks as well in hopes that I'd discover that they're reusable. I did the B52 blonde so the hop container was barely used. That I think is reusable, but the grain container was a soggy mess and smelled like death so I think that one is out of the question. Has anyone tried reusing these things to make custom recipes?
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
I don't see how they could be reused. Would have to seal the lids back on somehow. Main reason tho is the rfid tag pulls in the brew info from the Picobrew servers. Every brew you did would use the B-52 profile, mash times and temps, hop additions etc. I would imagine the tags have a unique id and they would be marked as already brewed.
 

Zoebendad

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Glad I came across this thread as I just finished putting together a little movie about my first use of the pico. Hope it is helpful or enjoyable or something for everyone. It's also 22 minutes so I won't be offended if you don't watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fk1FRuOES8
Great video! Thanks for posting it. I noticed you also had an issue with cleaning the racking tube. Does anyone know a way to get that clean? I don't want to contaminate the next brew.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Great video! Thanks for posting it. I noticed you also had an issue with cleaning the racking tube. Does anyone know a way to get that clean? I don't want to contaminate the next brew.
Stick a keg wand in the ball lock of the racking tube, now you can run water through it and pour sanitizer through it.
 

CKelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Messages
100
Reaction score
98
I don't see how they could be reused. Would have to seal the lids back on somehow. Main reason tho is the rfid tag pulls in the brew info from the Picobrew servers. Every brew you did would use the B-52 profile, mash times and temps, hop additions etc. I would imagine the tags have a unique id and they would be marked as already brewed.
That's a good point, I hadn't thought about that. I'm still probably gonna try some kind of custom batch and just pick a pikopak with a similar profile. Will report back on findings eventually.
 

BMacUC

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Here's a picture of my current setup for fast fermentation. 3.5 gallon bucket from meijer, aquarium heater, aquarium pump, and aquarium temperature probe. Surround the fermenting keg with water, heat and circulate. I am on my second batch now and I have found that I can maintain temperature within 1 degree of setpoint. Pretty easy and cheap solution for anyone interested. I purchased the heater, pump and probe on ebay for less than $20 total (with shipping) and I think the bucket was only $3 or $4.

unnamed.jpg
 

fp3csu

New Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Hi all, I thought I'd share my fast fermentation setup which works really well and is fairly affordable.

I bought this seed tray heating mat:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001WV010/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

along with the thermostat controller

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NZZG3S/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I put the brewing jacket on the keg while its fermenting and simply slide the seed mat in between the jacket and brew keg. It has worked really well and keeps everything between 80 and 82 (I have it set to 81).

Cheers!
Travis
 
Last edited by a moderator:

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
So, I do exactly the same thing, but with one of Inkbird's controllers. It works great.

I saw today that PicoBrew has added the fast fermentation poppets to the marketplace. I will probably get two more so I can have more in the pipeline.

I'd like to get two more of the keg cozies, but they aren't selling them yet.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Thanks for the heads up on the fast fermentation poppets, gonna order a couple more. Curious why you want more cozies? Are you using them for something besides brewing?
 

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
I use them for fast-fermentation as well as brewing. I wanted to try some of my other 1-gallon recipes in a fast-fermentation keg, so I'd potentially have two or three beers in the process.
 

Lbarouf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
387
Reaction score
57
Has anyone attempted to keep the spent from a PicoPak?

I usually keep my spent, dry it and try some recipes.

I can't see how this spent would be any different the the "regular" homebrew grains.
 

Lbarouf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
387
Reaction score
57
Oh, also, anyone tried to read the RFID tags? Just curious what they contain. Can we even reuse them/picopaks ?

I really hope that freestyle picopaks will allow adding some dried elements, like grapefruit peels, nutmeg, chestnuts, etc.

Oh, and has anyone asked about the sous-vide? I did not see any menu fields for this. I have a nice frozen steak that I would love to try this with.
 

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
I've taken the grains out and fed them to chickens. They enjoyed them tremendously. I haven't tried drying them or cooking with them, but they should be the same as any other mash.
 

Lbarouf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
387
Reaction score
57
I've taken the grains out and fed them to chickens. They enjoyed them tremendously. I haven't tried drying them or cooking with them, but they should be the same as any other mash.
Funny that you mention livestock. Whenever I don't dry my spent to make flour or bake with it, I give it to my friend who owns an horse. He grew quite fond of the dry spent. He said he could smell it and showed that he was happy about it. Must be much more flavorful to them I guess. Glad to see beer don't just make us happy. Beer has to be the liquid from gods. :mug:

On the fast fermentation note, where do you put your thermometer probe? Leave it next to the keg wedged between the mat and the keg wall? I would think that isolating the probe from the mat would work best so it does not "Read" the temp from the pad and stop short of heating the thing. If so, what do you insulate it with?
 

harrke

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
499
Reaction score
41
Location
Freeport
The heat mat only wraps around 3/4ths of the way. I use the cozy to hold it in place, then wedge the probe between the cozy and the keg, "opposite" the mat in a manner of speaking.
 
OP
J

jrb03

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
654
Reaction score
196
Well I finally have a beer worth drinking! Annie's London Ale has been force carbing in my kegerator for two weeks now. I poured one after about a week, and was not impressed. The beer was a still a little flat, but had a weird taste. Didn't even finish drinking it. Decided to give it another week before passing judgement. Happy to report that tonight it was quite drinkable, although not one of my favorite styles I enjoyed it.

Interestingly, although the beer seemed perfectly carbed, it did not have any head when poured. It actually formed a small head after it sat a bit, never had this happen before. This is a new kegerator I upgraded with double perlick tap, tapright regulator, and 15' pvc free beer lines. I'm thinking the lines may be a little too long. I'm force carbing the same way I did in my old keezer, regulator set about 11 psi to carb and serve, 35 'F, leave it on the gas a week or two and it's ready. I racked brew #2 tonight, Harlem Wit, I'll see how this one is with the same method before making any changes.

IMG_4895.jpg
 
Top